Sometime on the evening of July 2 of this year, I awoke in the Special Care Unit of Emberton Memorial Medical Center. I heard my dear wife Dorrie's voice as my eyes focused. I did not recognize her for a few dismal moments.
And then I spoke: "Wh... where have I been?"
"Oh, Mace," my wife said, tears rolling down her cheek.
It was all explained to me. I had suffered a severe emotional and nervous breakdown. I still have not gotten "the awful truth," but I have been able to piece together the basic story.
After the death of my friend and colleague, "Sparks" Spinkle, I simply "lossed my marbles." I apparently ranted and raved all over town, and, in a moment of pique, wrote the prior entry to this blog.
None of this happened! There is no Culley Harbin. That is the brand name of a leaf blower in my garage. There are no other panelologists of note in this town.
A gentle-voiced therapist, Dr. Drithers, who has been assigned me case, has subjected me to hours of interrogation, as I shiver in my inadequate hospital gown. In his eyes, my attachment to "your hobby," as he calls it, and the loss of "a significant participator in your hobby," as he calls "Sparks," was simply too much for me. That, combined with the loss of our restaurant location, and the ongoing issues with the business, sent me "across the edge."
This is the first time I have had access to the Internet since I iwrote that last entry, ladies and gentlemen. I read it in horror and amazement. Although I must say the essay on "Red" Holmdale iis not half-bad! I may include it in my... oh dear, I had best not mention "the book" here again. Lest those threatening notices appear here.
Those death-threats also aggravated my condition, according to Dr. Drithers. "No one with a... hobby... wishes to see it threatened, or it being the source of a death sentence."
The doctor campaigned endlessly for me to give up "my hobby" and attempt a "regular life, with regular interests," but I soundly pooh-poohed this treasonable talk.
I am home on a trail basis, as my emotional and mental progress have been deemed "significant" by Drithers and by my regular physician. Each step I take, each day I awake, seems fragile, distant, dissimilar. This is the first moment I have had to sit in silence and address you, my gone-but-never-forgotten friends of the Internet.
"Your hobby." Blasphemy! To quote Norman Bates, from the Hitchcock film The Birds, "it's more than a hobby." A hobby is something I equate with balsa wood and airplane glue... with mindless tasks meant to soothe, not edify. Fussing about with paper airplanes! Kites! Let any man, woman or child who is satisfied with such small efforts be welcome to them.
My life study of the art form of panelology is no more a "hobby" than a toaster is a machine gun! More positive events have occured to me BECAUSE of "my hobby" than if I lived "a regular life, with regular interests."
I am sorry to burden you with my troubles, but I feel somewhat ashamed of my "spell." Apparently, there are several newspaper accounts of my actions. I am too mortified to read them. Best to just let bygones be bygones.
I miss "Sparks," but I must accept the cold hard facts that he is gone. There is no one to take his plpace. I spend more time with Dorrie, and we have become closer than anytime in our long marriage. As a show of support, she faithfully paid the monthly rent on the New Pantheon, and inspected its premises weekly to assure the climate was considerate to the vintage newsprint, and that no rodents or harmful insects were "taking up roots" in the longboxes, etc.
I hacve lost a friend, but I have gained a wife. Dorrie says she understands the importance of my devotion to the art panelologic. She encourages me to resume work on "the book," although it is clear I am far from that point at the present.
With great irony, I now go outdoors to remove autumn leaves from our deck, using the Culley Harbin Lectro-Jet leaf blower. With this note, I shall consider the events leading up to today closed, past history, and promise to forge ahead stronger than ever in my pursuit of the ultimate study of penalology.